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Five Questions To Answer for Customer Journey Mapping Success

Nicole Newton Nicole Newton 03/25/2021

Successful customer journey maps drive customer-focused change like improving customer experience, developing a new way to deliver value to customers, or reducing the cost to serve current customers.

Based on a 2016 study of customer experience professionals, over two-thirds of respondents did not rate their journey mapping project as successful. The reason? A lack of action from the mapping endeavor.

When we work with clients at Heart of the Customer, our goal is to drive action from the journey maps. We require our clients to work through the Five Questions as a foundation for their journey mapping. Ask yourself and your team to work through these Five Questions before launching your customer journey mapping initiative:

1. What is the Business Problem?

Why do you want to create a journey map in the first place? Define the underlying opportunity (ideas include: fix something that’s broken, support a new corporate initiative or learn about an unknown customer journey) and then determine the measurements you will use to show that you have elevated the customer experience.

Remember that journey improvements must be measured so start thinking of ways to measure your improved customer experience. Have you reduced calls to the support center? Have you enabled customers to go through a journey faster? Is retention improving? Has customer satisfaction increased? To start, here are six different ways journey mapping can drive ROI.

2. What is the Journey?

Customers have many experiences with your company and selecting the first journey to map can take our clients months to decide. Use existing customer knowledge to help you narrow the list. Software companies often study the onboarding journey, knowing that this has an impact on the renewal decision.

3. Who is the Customer?

Specific customers need to be chosen for successful mapping, not ‘all customers.’ Define a group of customers who share traits or experiences. Some examples include first time purchasers, customers from certain sized organizations, or customers who have purchased the same product. Define the customer group narrow enough to allow you to target them, and large enough to show a financial impact based on improving their experiences.

4. What is the Right Approach?

How do you best reach your customers, now that you’ve defined the journey and the customer segment of interest? Can you reach customers right after they’ve completed the journey (good)? Or follow them as they experience the journey (better)? We record every customer interview and employ video cameras and digital voice recorders when in person. Driving change requires employees to truly understand the customers’ journey, and we haven’t found anything better than video to develop customer empathy. Digital ethnography software is another good tool for customer journey mapping, especially when you can follow customers through the entire journey – usually best for those journeys lasting 30 days or less. Our work at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities is a great example of how to use digital ethnography to hear from customers as they experience the journey.

5. What is the Right Team?

Who should be included inside your organization to learn about the customer and develop improvement initiatives? Cast the net widely, to include important functions involved in delivering the customer experience. Include your technology folks, as we have yet to see improvement initiatives that don’t include some help and guidance from this team.

Customer Journey Mapping, when executed with change management best-practices, has the power to spark organization-wide transformations and a multitude of value-driven, customer-centric initiatives. Use the above framework to help develop your next customer journey mapping initiative.


We wrote the book on journey mapping. Literally.

Learn how it can transform the way you do business.

How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer? Using Journey Mapping to Drive Customer-Focused Change, by Heart of the Customer’s Jim Tincher and Nicole Newton, shows you how to create journey maps that get results.

Learn more >



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